On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order that has far-reaching consequences for companies facing exposure to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which provides for statutory damages of $500 up to $1500 per call, text message or fax with no cap on aggregate damages.  The Declaratory Ruling is being challenged in a consolidated appeal before the D.C. Circuit on a number of grounds.

In a Practical Law Q&A, Drinker Biddle partners Seamus C. Duffy, Laura H. Phillips, Bradley J. Andreozzi and Michael J. Stortz, of the firm’s TCPA team, provided insight on the Declaratory Ruling’s key provisions and important implications for businesses across industries, including:

  1. Challenges for companies whose marketing and informational calling and texting activities fall within the scope of the TCPA.
  2. Effects of the FCC’s expansive definition of “automatic telephone dialing system” on the use of modern technologies to engage in marketing and informational calling and text messaging activities.
  3. Potential for increased litigation resulting from the FCC’s purported “reasonable method” approach to revocation of consent. 
  4. Burdens faced by companies in seeking to determine whether phone numbers have been reassigned.
  5. Ways the Declaratory Ruling cleared the way to block unwanted telephone calls.
  6. Points of divergence among the Commissioners and whether they reveal weaknesses in the Declaratory Ruling that may not hold up on appeal.

Strategies for defending TCPA putative class actions going forward.